September College Park Development Update

Be sure to see the September College Park Development update. The Development Update is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering development activity in the City. It covers status updates to the Maryland Book Exchange redevelopment, M-Square, and East Campus proposals among others. To subscribe, please feel free to contact Robert Riker at (240) 487-3544 or internplanning@collegeparkmd.gov.

Comment on the Update to UMD’s Campus Facilities Master Plan

UMD is putting the finishing touched on its 2011-2030 Campus Facilities Master Plan (FMP – informational website). The FMP seeks to “establish a framework to guide the orderly growth and development of the campus over the next decade.” It focuses on the campus landscape and transportation systems, which are two major weaknesses of the current FMP.

The FMP Steering Committee will finalize the plan in the coming weeks and present the document to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents in January. Be sure to read the document and submit your thoughts to the Steering Committee.

Information session on Cafritz property Wednesday, September 7 for local residents!

There are lots of meetings and events this week. Please be sure to read other recent posts. The message below was passed along from the Calvert Hills – Old Town neighborhood listserv. A great opportunity to weigh in on the Cafritz property along Route 1:
wholefoods

The Informational Session with the Cafritz Development team is scheduled for Wednesday, September 7th @ 7PM – College Park City Hall.

College Park City Planner, Terry Schum will provide an overview on the M-NCPPC development review process followed by a presentation in which Cafritz will address your questions, comments and concerns submitted previously. They have been advised to come with qualitative & quantitative data to support their studies (traffic, enviromental, etc.) and research.

Following the presentation there will be a group-setting Q&A. For those who are more comfortable in a non-group setting and/or wishing for a more conversation-style format to learn more about this proposed development, there will also be opportunity to speak one-on-one with the architects, envirnmental specialists, traffic analysts and others from the Cafritz team regarding the potential impact it will have on our community.

Members from City Council & the Mayor will be present as the City of College Park will eventually be submitting a stance on this issue with the County so please, plan to attend. Now is an excellent time to let your issues, questions, concerns and opinions be heard by our representatives.

Event: Neighborhood Work Group on Purple Line this Thursday

Purple Line 5
You are invited to a Neighborhood Work Group meeting for the Purple Line at College Park City Hall on Thursday September 8 @ 7p.m. These meetings cover very specific and targeted areas and this meeting will focus on the proposed station at the current College Park Metro Station. Work groups provide an opportunity for community members to participate in targeted discussions on issues such as station location and access, specific design, and engineering issues. For an overview of the evening’s topics, check out this powerpoint. We hope to see you Thursday evening!

Free Workshop on Purchasing Clean Energy this Saturday

College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment is sponsoring a workshop on purchasing clean energy this Saturday, September 10. See more details below.

What: Free Workshop on “Purchasing Clean Energy” sponsored by College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment (CBE)

Date: Saturday, September 10, 10 am to Noon

Place: College Park City Hall Council Chambers

In this second of CBE’s energy-efficiency workshops, Dr. Ross Salawitch, a professor from the University of MD, and Michael Heintz, a planning manager for the Energy Assurance division of the Maryland Energy Administration, will answer questions like the following:

· What is “clean” (or renewable) energy, who sells it, and how much does it cost?

· How can we get clean energy into our homes?

· Is it dependable?

Several renewable energy vendors also will be present.

Free but registration is required. To register, please email evitale@collegeparkmd.gov.

The Varsity at College Park to Open on Sept 6

Varsity
Varsity

The Varsity at College Park (8150 Baltimore Ave) is finally ready to open for this fall semester.

Potomac Holdings, the owners, will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the property on Tuesday, September 6, 1 – 3 p.m.

Speakers will include Dr. University of Maryland president Wallace Loh, Prince George’s County vice chair Eric Olson, and Prince George’s County executive Rushern Baker, III.

In addition to speakers, there will be guided tours and refreshments available at Looney’s Pub and tours of the building. Please RSVP to Kate Kuhlman at kate@bendurepr.com by September 3.

Where should we put Capital Bikeshare in College Park?

In all honesty, I was originally hesitant to support Capital Bikeshare in College Park. I thought that if riders were unable to connect to the core of the system in DC, stations in College Park would see very little use. However, after hearing presentations about the future of Capital Bikeshare from DDOT’s Jim Sebastian, Alta Planning and Design’s Charlie Denny, and DC Councilmember, Tommy Wells, I am convinced that College Park can support a successful “satellite” system without having riders connecting to stations in DC. They sold me on the ability for a cluster of stations to support the transportation needs of a given area, even if not linked to the larger network.

Capital Bikeshare cycles

Plans are already underway to establish a satellite system surrounding Shady Grove and Rockville in Montgomery County under the Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program from the Federal Transit Administration. This system will include approximately 20 docking stations and 200 bikes.

Certainly, a similar system could be supported in College Park. In many ways, the city is an ideal location for Capital Bikeshare. First, the metro station is inconveniently located away from key destinations such as downtown and the University. However, the distance is easily covered within minutes on a bicycle. Second, Capital Bikeshare is an ideal way to move faculty, staff, and students across the University’s campus. Walking between destinations on campus can take 30 minutes or more, and becuase of this, many choose to drive, leading to additional congestion on campus and Route 1. Capital Bikeshare could reduce travel times for pedestrians while providing a safe, efficient, and healthy alternative to driving across campus. Finally, Capital Bikeshare could encourage more people to explore the regional trail network in and around the city.

Unfortunately, past attempts to receive funding for Capital Bikeshare in College Park have failed, but the overwhelming popularity of the system should guarantee that the program will continue to expand in the near future.

I now hope that College Park will receive dedicated funding for Bikeshare expansion sooner, rather than later. In that spirit, what are the ideal locations for Capital Bikeshare in College Park? Where can we maximize use and provide the most opportunities for bicycle transportation. For me, the obvious answers are the Metro station, the College Park Shopping Center, and the Stamp Student Union. But precisely where should these be located to maximize visibility and use? Where else should stations be located? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below.